Get It Right! How To Spot The Truth with this easy test

“I didn’t hit you, I gave you five on your face.”

-my youngest child

Bending the truth is nothing new. My toddler came up with this one all on her own. Why? Because the description generally fit the truth, but framed it less offensively. It’s no different than what we all do–or are tempted to do–on a regular basis. We know the basic rule of a double agent: The closer we stay to the truth, the easier it is to lie.

We know how to do it, but can we spot a fraud? I think there’s an easy way we can learn to discern.

I recently read about a new devotional that claims to unveil the “way of Yesuah” that has been “forgotten” for 2,000 years. It makes claims about an “elephant in the room” of Christians that we don’t experience the realities of the Christian life that we tell everyone we believe in. Namely, peace and joy.

Okay, that’s a good concern. I have an issue with the claim that this devotional–or series of “meditations”–will unveil Jesus’ Way that has been lost for 2,000 years. Am I going out on a limb to guess that the author hasn’t been alive for more than 50 years, give or take? Could he seriously opine on whether this earth-shattering insight he has was really lost for 2,000 years?

Is he aware that the Bible has been around for most of that time?

Okay. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Assuming that the first part is crass marketing … let’s dive into some of the claims.

As I said, a good false doctrine will stay very close to the truth.

The advertisement and the video trailers claim that Christians have become lost in their lives, forgetting who they are … and they need to wake up!

A bit dramatic for my taste. A bit vague, too. I’d ask, “What do you mean, lost? or forgotten who we are?”

The writer goes on to say that Christians need to wake up to who we already are. Our identity is in Christ!

Amen!

Unfortunately, that’s where the truth ends. At least in the promo videos and the content I’ve seen so far.

The writer declares that we need to realize that WE ARE THE LIGHT! And that we need to learn to LOVE OURSELVES!

He couches these things in with solid Biblical principles, but it’s the twist, the framing that is problematic.

You Are The Light

The Bible says that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12). And He is the life, and the life is the light of men (John 1:4). There is also the passage that says “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). And then there’s the passage describing John the Baptist that says he was not the light, but testified of the light (John 1:8).

So, the statement that WE ARE THE LIGHT is true … kind of. We are not the light, but we should shine the light of a life filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s important to note that Jesus was talking to the Jews before the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. He likened them as lights to a city on a hill or a candle on a stand. The chosen people of God–at that point–were the people of Israel!

Today, the true Israel is made up of every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our lives are to be lights to the world so that as they persecute us, they will see our good deeds and ultimately give glory to God.

But we are not THE LIGHT any more than John the Baptist was THE LIGHT.

Pagans teach of being luminous beings (you probably can hear Yoda saying that in one of the Star Wars movies).

Love [Your Neighbor As] Yourself

Take away what rests between those brackets and you have paganism. Whitney Houston, I believe, sang about the greatest love … which ended in loving yourself (instead of giving your life for your friends).

There’s nothing the world wants to hear more than Jesus telling them to love themselves. Much to their dismay, Jesus never said that. And there’s a world of difference between loving yourself and loving your neighbor as yourself.

What’s The Easy Test?

So, when you see stuff come from prominent Christian writers, what is this test? My test? Go to the Bible and compare what they’re saying to what it says.

Contrary to this prominent Christian writer, Jesus’ teaching hasn’t been lost or forgotten for 2,000 years. It’s all there in the Bible. Perhaps popular ‘Christianity’ has forgotten that the Bible is God’s word.

What do you think? Is this writer correct about us being the light? Do you feel close enough is good enough? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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12 Comments

  1. ok I have been cautiously reading TedDekker’s forgotten way. I personally found him a challenging read. I don t understand the hostility. He seems to me to be re presenting the truth of a new creation. A creation that is in Christ and reconciled to God. A creation that is new not reformed. A creation that by nature is now clothed with Christ not Adam. He attempts to explain our frustrations and failures to walk in the Spirit by using the analogy of forgetting who we are and thus walking in the flesh. Some of the prominant characteristics of the flesh that Adam and Eve portrayed immmediately were defensive and projecting blame {judging}. I was frankly convicted of my own proclivity to judge those who had injured me and to desire distance from them while considering them my enem. Even tho I could pray for them I didn t want relationship with them. I certainly wouldn t have laid down my life for them. I held them accountable at every turn and absolutely had no peace or joy in my walk I waited for them to change I waited for them to behave as I believed they should. But when I registered what the author was trying to convey was that we would all be condemned if the same process was applied to us but “God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might have life.”
    Can you explain the heresy more clearly. I have recommended this book and I will certainly undo that recommendation if I can understand what is not orthodox in terms of the early counsels of the church.

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    1. I didn t like the little buddhist bow either haha but I tried to discern the truth in what he was saying apart from that. also what is the difference between John Macarthur selling his books and Ted Dekker selling his. I ve seen countless Bibles even marketed as study bibles with a prominent teachers notes and opinions included and their name on the cover.

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      1. I agree. I ignored his “Namaste” picture for a long time. And there’s nothing wrong with selling books. It seems like he’s sold out! Lol. He says things that are true. But when someone claims to have an encounter with God and He’s shown the author a “forgotten way” I smell koolaid being mixed.

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    2. He has parts that are true, but he’s more new age in the whole feeling. And he borders on universalism with the whole “wake up” idea. He’s also a heretic because he claims to have been given a direct revelation from God apart from scripture. That might have been a literary device, but he didn’t say it was. As for selling books, there’s no problem with that. But crass marketing, imo, shouldn’t sit close with a Bible study.

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      1. you mean that God does not speak directly to believers? Or is it that you think he claims new revelation from God distinct from what the apostles taught and recorded?
        I think He is not a theologian and probably needs a good editor to keep him Kosher. He is a person who thinks in unconventional lines which may be great for perceiving application of truth but not excellent for presenting objective truth. Perhaps he should stick to novels ha ha I m also thinking as I read that he is speaking to christian people who would be familiar with repentance for sin(for which we stand judged) and the absolute need for surrender of the human will to control (rebellion0 our life and circumstances and destiny. And the essential recognition that Jesus is Lord and came to save us from the consequences of sin that rules us naturally by giving us new birth and sonship. anyway thanks for the input.

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      2. I recently had this discussion with another friend online: Does God “reveal Himself” or speak new information directly to believers apart from Scripture? Short, orthodox answer, no. This is derived from Hebrews 1 where the author states that while God revealed Himself through various means with the prophets, He has now revealed Himself in His Son. The NT is then capped with the Revelation of Jesus Christ and it concludes with the warning that anyone adding to the book will be subject to judgment. Some point out that it only refers to the book of Revelation, the scroll. However, since that book ends the NT, it seems to apply to the whole of Scripture, as well. In Acts we have the statement about how God will pour out His spirit in the later days, giving visions, prophecy, etc. This has been a go-to verse for charismatics to support the direct message from God scenario. Problem is, it is a verse subject to controversy in proper interpretation. Reason being, with that interpretation, it conflicts with Hebrews and Revelation. Since I don’t believe the Bible has any contradictions, I lean toward that verse in Acts referring to the visions of Paul and John, specifically, and the demonstration of power at the time of Pentacost. I see this interpretation as more consistent, and less prone to error.

        With Dekker, you’re right, he isn’t a theologian, which made the “study” a little odd. That’s not to say someone has to have a seminary degree in order to write a Bible study. It does mean that someone needs to fully explore what they intend to teach through prayer and careful study. Particularly because he has a following that looks up to him.

        I’m willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, at first. We all say or think things that we later find out were a bit off. Of course we don’t write them down, package them as something amazing and new, lost for the past 2000 years (gag) and claim to have been given this insight directly from a revelation of God. That’s what Joseph Smith had when he started the Mormon cult. That’s what all cults have. A leader who claims to have been visited directly by God, given new information and then put out a study that claims it gets right what everyone else has wrong for millenia.

        Ted Dekker’s story about his “meditations” on Scripture is also false. He claims he wrote these down for his kids over the years (at least that was in the original marketing materials). But, The Forgotten Way was co-written by a guy.. .can’t think of his name now, who is another one of those “I got a word from God” people.

        You’re also onto something with the assumption that Ted’s writing to Christians. I thought the same thing. But, we can’t make that assumption. If, for example, we hate our brothers, feel envy and bitterness and “forget” we are followers of Christ, it is quite possible we are false converts. The NT writers encouraged repentance in such situations, not “wake up.” Paul said to cast off the works of the flesh, and put on the works of the Spirit. That’s similar to what Ted says, but not identical. And the devil is in the details.

        Folks like Rob Bell advocate the same thing: we’re saved, but we’re just ignorant (or have forgotten) that we’re saved and have this identity in Christ (as Ted puts it). Thus, our sinful behavior is reduced to simple ignorance, not willful rebellion. Then, working out our salvation with fear and trembling (as in Phillipians) is brushed aside. There’s no fear, right? We shouldn’t be trembling, should we? Why do we need to be disciplined and run the race? Why beat our flesh and strive to be approved of the high calling? Note, I’m not advocating works-based salvation. But, if we don’t show the fruit of repentance, then we’re likely not saved. The book of 1 John is about knowing you’re saved. I think it would be better for people to study that book of the Bible rather than some highly marketed, borderline cult-like book from Ted Dekker.

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  2. I saw the same promo and balked at the loving self part of it. It makes for good promo and it plays directly into the hands of the world’s view of ‘it’s all about me’ that is so prevalent today. Jerry Bridges, in his book The Discipline of Grace, p. 176, said, “One of the banes of present-day evangelical Christianity is the way we sit every week under the preaching of God’s Word, or even have private devotions and perhaps participate in a Bible study group, without a serious intent to obey the truth we learn. The indictment of the Jewish people God made to Ezekiel could well be said of us today: [then he quotes Ezekiel 33:31,32].” We certainly must take care of ourselves spiritually, physically, and mentally, but the narcissistic view of so many today exceeds taking care of self just like the viewpoint of self abasement that demands stoicism is the opposite extreme.

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  3. I think one of the things I have taken away from “Love your neighbor as yourself” is that we do have to love ourselves. Not the crazy “love yourself” crap we see today touted in books, but I think some forms of Christianity say “die to self” and then never remind us that in order to love others, we also have to take care of ourselves. If I don’t ever feed myself, bathe myself, or take care of my heart, then how can I give to others what I don’t do for myself. Just an observation on my end, as I tend to burn out trying to be everything to everyone with all this “love others” stuff. I tend to go overboard and sacrifice my health to love others. Which one could argue is not loving at all.

    As for the rest of it all, it’s probably been said before but people who are deceptive always mix a bit of truth in with what they say. That’s why sometimes its hard to get to the heart of the issue. At face value, it seems legit. Dig a little, and you realize it’s just crap covered in perfume.

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    1. Yeah, taking care of yourself is good. Jesus went away for refreshment in many occasions. But, “loving yourself” is odd. Particularly since that’s what the New Age folks are always saying. Maybe we should explore that more, though. Good thoughts!

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      1. I’ve always worked from the idea to exhort us to love our neighbor as ourselves at least starts from a place where we are somewhat fond of ourselves. We seem to get two rival teachings though. Love yourself, forget about your neighbor, and love your neighbor because they are scumbags just like you.

        Neither one seems to get to the heart of what Jesus was saying.

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